Scotland's Many People
The ALBA Women’s Conference adopted the following declaration which is of such importance as to be included in full in our 2022 Local Elections manifesto.
The ALBA party recognises that by dint of birth and happenstance, we are not all created nor do we live our lives as equals. Scotland’s history involves multiple injustices where chance or privilege have dictated outcomes, and today, poverty continues to be the biggest driver of inequality and a blight on our society. These days should by now be past. Surely this modern world and an independent Scotland can cater for all without loss to any.
The Scotland ALBA strives to create envisions a level playing field where we can become truly equal to each other and where everyone’s rights are respected and protected, but, vitally, not at the cost of others.
ALBA undertakes to protect and preserve women’s rights, not at any expense to others, but as a safeguard for women and girls.
ALBA believes women have the right to discuss all policies which affect them, without being abused and silenced.
ALBA believes women have the right to maintain their sex based protections as set out in the Equality Act 2010. These include female only spaces such as changing rooms, hospital wards, sanitary and sleeping accommodation, refuges, hostels and prisons.
ALBA believes women have the right to refuse consent to males in single sex spaces or males delivering intimate services to females such as washing, dressing and counselling.
ALBA believes women have the right to single sex sports to ensure fairness and safety at all levels of competition.
ALBA believes women have the right to organise themselves according to their sex class across a range of cultural, leisure, educational and political activities.
ALBA acknowledges and promotes all of the protected characteristics of the Equality Act 2010 which are age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation and sex.
Crucially, ALBA understands the controversy and pain which have characterised Scotland’s recent attempts at reform; there has been much heat and at times little light.
ALBA invites and will endorse a Citizens’ Assembly on how best to reform the Gender Recognition process in a respectful, sensitive and positive fashion.
ALBA acknowledges that no single protected characteristic is more virtuous or more worthy of recognition and safeguarding than another. They are all fundamentally important, each on their own, and as a collective.
We’re all equal in ALBA.
Scotland is a nation, but it is a diverse nation of many different people – and ALBA wants to push to deliver for all of them. These are some of the policies that ALBA believes will help make Scotland a fairer society for all.
- LGBTQ+ and Community Rights
The written constitution which ALBA proposes for Scotland, will enshrine the rights of all minorities to equality before the law and offer specific protection through the justice system for crimes based on sexual orientation, racial hatred or other forms of discrimination.
ALBA will support justice reforms, in which automatic anonymity from court reporting will be granted to all victims of sexual assault, and to victims of aggravated crimes of racial and other forms of discrimination.
A commitment to women's rights does not mean a rejection of trans rights and ALBA deplores the way in which these two often vulnerable groups in society have been pitted against each other. ALBA does not believe there need be conflict between women's rights and trans rights and believes that animosity has been stoked by the failure of the Scottish Government to act decisively. ALBA is calling for a Citizens’ Assembly to be established with urgency to develop binding proposals on reform of the Gender Recognition Act. ALBA will strongly support human rights protections for all in the LGBTQ+ community.
- Minority Communities
The elimination of racism in Scotland is not just a matter of criminal sanction (although this has a role) but the inclusion of minority communities in all aspects of national life and the rooting out of discriminatory behaviour wherever it is found.
In the range of our selection of candidates, ALBA has demonstrated how this can be properly achieved.
ALBA is a pro-immigration party recognising the great value of New Scots coming to build their homes and livelihoods in our country and embracing the opportunities of building a new Scotland together.
The Scottish Parliament needs to engage in a range of measures to make our “One Scotland” boast a reality, not a slogan.
- ALBA’s Disabled People’s Initiative
Approximately one-fifth of the population of Scotland comprises of people who would describe themselves as disabled – in other words a million of our citizens have a physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairment which, in interaction with other barriers, might hinder full effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.
ALBA will promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities and to promote respect for their inherent dignity. These laudable principles form the mission statement of Article 1 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and ALBA supports its incorporation into Scots Law and into Scotland’s new constitution.
The key priorities for ALBA include independent living, securing finance and resources to enable this, and the achievement of improved accessibility to all services. Disabled people deserve support into education and employment, so ALBA encourages innovative approaches to youth employment, peer support for skills and career development, and the enablement of education skills and employment opportunities for all.
It is for the benefit of the individual, and of Scottish society at large, that the needs and interests of disabled people are addressed holistically thereby enabling their full participation in public life and their ability to enjoy, on an equal par, life chances, opportunities and achievements.
- In ALBA we are all equal
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought forth many challenges for disabled people. It has also created new opportunities and increased awareness and understanding of some of the difficulties that the disabled community face. Using these lessons, and listening to the voices of disabled people, we can start to not only recover from the pandemic, but put in place real, solid building blocks to support disabled people in an Independent Scotland.
- A Disability National Support Centre
ALBA believe that a Disability National Support Centre should be established, responsible for providing guidance on reasonable adjustments, accessibility products and disability mentoring. The mission is to ensure that every disabled young person has a single point of contact and access to advice, starting from early learning, and working right the way through full education and into employment.
The National Support Centre will also offer support, advice and guidance to parents, Schools, Higher Education centres and employers. This will ensure broad, universal and consistent support for disabled people across all communities, the length and breadth of Scotland, and not just for a select few.
- Digitally Accessible Houses
As part of our economic recovery plan and housebuilding initiative, we pledge to ensure that disabled people are at the heart of the design process. Ensuring we provide sufficient accessible, good quality housing to enable disabled people to live independently and feel fully integrated into their local communities.
Scotland needs to invest in Digital Health research, allowing us to become pioneers in this field, offering the Gold standard for "Smart Home Living". This would utilise new and emerging technology to help support our Health and Social Care service to provide dignity, respect and supported independent living, for both disabled people and our ageing population, in their own homes.
- Faith Communities
ALBA believes that all of Scotland’s faith communities have the right to practice their faith in line with Article 9 of the European Convention on Human rights which protect absolutely an individual’s right to freedom of religion and belief.
ALBA will work with our faith communities to better improve outcomes for members of those communities who are more likely to be the victims of religiously aggravated hate crimes.
ALBA supports the rights of faith communities to maintain state denominational schooling.
- Small Business Owners
A commitment to a business-led recovery means ALBA will continue to push for the reform of public procurement to create a Community Wealth Building approach which puts Scottish businesses first. This will break down the many barriers that small and micro-sized businesses have in competing for government contracts. Smart procurement will be used to help make the future not just sustainable, but predictable, for small business owners. Scotland's enterprise agencies must be shaken up to be less focused only on bigger business and to help smaller businesses gain the maximum possible benefit of supply chain opportunities created by Community Wealth Building. ALBA will also continually push Holyrood to stop being starry-eyed about the wrong kinds of inward investment, and instead recognise that it is Scotland's domestic industry base that must be the foundation of our future economy.
Children should have a much more enjoyable and much more expressive education experience, and still be able to achieve the education they need to set them up for the rest of their lives. There should be less pressure and more creativity, but a clear focus on achieving good literacy, numeracy and IT skills. This will be achieved alongside better technology so learning is properly supported for the 21st century. All children will have the right to high-quality breakfasts and lunches all year round and a legal right to food if they need it. To this end, ALBA has proposed the Five Point Plan for tackling Child and family poverty. You can read more about that here.
- Young Adults
ALBA has put forward a comprehensive industrial policy that will create many well paid job opportunities in ethical and sustainable industries. It will also support young people with meaningful training, providing career opportunities. Just as important as accessible job opportunities is accessible housing. The mass public rental housebuilding programme will ensure that young people not only have a chance to get good housing, but rents will be cheaper and quality higher. ALBA will push for a comprehensive system of rent controls to protect younger people who make up a disproportionately high number of renters. And of course no-one benefits more from rapid, serious action to avert climate catastrophe than our younger generation.
- Beyond the Central Belt
ALBA believe it should be a priority to complete the A96 and A9 dualling projects. Following this, work to duel the A77 from Ayr to Stranraer and to fix the issues at the Rest and Be Thankful should be primary infrastructure projects for the Scottish Government and local authorities.
ALBA's commitment to a strategy of Community Wealth Building will mean that towns can build up their own economies and retain much more of the economic benefit of that economy locally, enabling towns to thrive and, where necessary, regenerate themselves. Public procurement reform will support the small and micro-sized businesses which are so important to towns. A programme of mass house building will mean that towns are able to meet their local housing needs much more effectively and to do so by producing very high quality homes that will be attractive to those wishing to relocate or make a home there. A proper system of local democracy will mean that towns become powerful and are able to develop their own local economic and social strategies.
Housing is crucial for rural Scotland and ALBA’s housebuilding programme along with land reform and land taxes means that they will have more control over their own future development. But rural Scotland is also littered with uninhabited properties and so ALBA will continue to push for the Scottish National Investment Bank funding to enable a major renovation and restoration programme to turn these into attractive modern homes. This will all be able to be guided by powerful local democracy so rural communities have their future in their own hands. And ALBA’s industrial policy is not about the heavy industry of the past, but future, sustainable industries. With policy support for business areas like food production, forestry and timber processing there is the potential for many new high-quality rural jobs.
The fishing community have been used as a political football and betrayed by the Brexiteers. Family businesses built up over generations are now in a critical financial condition. ALBA believe that both the access to Scotland’s natural marine resources and access to Scotland’s lucrative European markets through EFTA is the most viable way forward.
Scotland’s farming and food industry will similarly benefit from ALBA’s proposals to secure an early and rapid return to the European single marketplace. In addition, the ALBA proposal for high quality, nutritious Scottish sourced school meals will provide a huge stimulus to Scotland’s food industry.
The rapid expansion of Scotland’s food and drink economy, exporting worldwide some of the highest quality food in the world, will be sustained by ALBA reclaiming early access to key markets, while protecting quality for producers and consumers from the race to the bottom on standards which is clearly being engaged in by Westminster Government.
Welfare & Social Security
Social Security Powers and a Real Living Wage for Unpaid Carers
The Scottish Government has failed to implement the full range of Social Security benefits available to Scotland.
This continued failure undermines the credibility of the Scottish Government's ongoing criticism of welfare reform, the universal credit uplift withdrawal or their stated ambition to tackle poverty and deprivation; key drivers of the current drug death crisis.
ALBA believes that we need a complete overhaul of the benefits assessment system used to process PIP and DLA claims - making this a fairer and more compassionate process where no claimant feels they are having to “fight” the system.
The current systems in place cause claimants to face months of assessments and appeals which have led to mental distress and more worryingly the deaths of many of the claimants before any award is issued. The introduction of Personal Independence Payments (PIP) in 2013 with many previously successful Disability Living Allowance (DLA) claimants being refused PIP as this award uses a scoring system that does not recognise the nature of their disability further exacerbates the impact of the UK Government's continued Welfare reform failures. This is a significant issue with children currently assessed using the DLA criteria who upon turning 16 years old are then required to apply for PIP. Many of these young adults are then refused PIP despite no material change to their disability status or their ongoing needs.
ALBA recognises the invaluable role Unpaid Carers contribute to Scotland’s social fabric. We call for Unpaid Carers to receive the equivalent of the Real Living Wage. The current weekly Carers Allowance payment of £67 with a minimum qualifying requirement of 35 hours per week, undervalues the vital role carers fulfil to the care recipient and to Scottish society.
ALBA believes the role of an unpaid carer is central to giving the recipient the choice (as is their right) to remain living in their own home rather than in a care facility. The 35 hours per week commitment needed to qualify for Carer’s Allowance is equivalent to £1.90 per hour, ten percent of the estimated £19 per hour it would cost to fund the care if provided by a Care Provider Service.